The Break Our Marriage Needed

This past week in Puerto Rico for our anniversary was such a blessing. We are so thankful for Chris’ parents and my parents who tag-teamed on watching the kids to make our getaway possible. We love y’all!

I can’t really put into words how much fun we had on this trip. It was very needed.

Our marriage has been in kind of a dry spell lately and it’s sometimes hard to know what to do to when times like that come. It’s like nothing serious is wrong and yet something feels off. We are totally committed to each other, divorce is not an option for us, so there’s never even that thought or fear when hard times come. Which is such a blessing.

But it’s also hard when you’re like “I love you and will never leave you, but I also don’t really like you right now. I’d take a bullet for you but don’t ask me to get up and change a diaper.” (Haha)

Chris and I have spent a lot of time talking about this and we know that marriage isn’t all fluffy romantic feelings…but shouldn’t those kinds of feelings still be present?

That’s what we were missing. The fun parts. Maybe all of the trials we’ve been through in our short 4 years of marriage sucked it out of us, maybe we just got complacent. But the last month or two we’ve been a lot more aware and intentional about communicating and loving each other in the fun ways…not the heavy commitment type of ways.

And goodness…this past week was just what the doctor ordered. I have laughed more than I can remember in a long time. We played cards at midnight, hiked a rain forest, and ate way too much candy. We laid in bed for an entire day bingeing on our favorite show, and walked through Old San Juan in the rain. We rented a scooter to tour a tropical island…and also wrecked that scooter. (Haha)

I realized this week how important time away together is. Whether you have kids or not. There was something about having an entire week away…I just didn’t feel rushed. And that’s the first time I haven’t felt confined by feeding schedules or bedtimes in a long time. I could take a breath and know that we had plenty of time. My mind was quiet, we caught up on sleep, and we had a ton of time to do fun things we never get to do.

We are on the right track. Chris and I have always been fun people. We have always loved to laugh and loved adventures and spontaneity.

But in the trenches of parenthood to three precious souls, I think we forgot about that. We cut out everything that didn’t seem “necessary” to survive and in doing so we kind of lost ourselves.

This week I was reminded of the man I fell head over heels for…the one who’s hilarious and kind, the one who carries my heavy purse for me through the airport and yet laughs at me when I almost fall on the escalator.

We had a blast and are excited about our marriage. We are still learning this whole thing…maybe after 30 years of marriage we’ll be a little better at it. (Ha)

New Year, New Rhythms.

As I’ve been spending time evaluating this new year and what goals the Lord is showing me and wanting me to work towards, I can’t help but think back on what I posted last year.
While so much is the same…lots of messes and chaos and little people who need me, I can’t help but sigh and say a thank you prayer at how far the Lord has brought me.

Last year, I gave birth to my third child, we listed and sold our home in SC, we moved to Columbus, GA and relocated three times within 6 weeks of being down here.

The Lord provided a beautiful home for us here in Columbus and for the first time in several years I don’t feel like life is “on hold” in anticipation of a big event. Like moving, or having another baby.

So this year I was actually able to set some goals and think through what the Lord has for me this year.

This is my first year using Lara Casey’s #powersheets and I LOVE THEM. For someone like me who always has about 47 different things going on in my head, the Power Sheets helped me to quiet the noise and figure out what matters to me.

So as I was searching my heart and trying to narrow down what 2017 should look like, the Lord kept revealing a common theme for me. My family. My home. My children. My husband.

I felt Him tugging on my heart to be present in my home.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Starter. I am all about a project. Let’s do it. Let’s plant those seeds, start that ministry, help whoever needs help. Let’s throw some dynamite into the mess and shake things up.

However, I am not so great at finishing things.

I lack endurance in those projects. I get overwhelmed and want to go start something new. I like the adrenaline rush at the beginning.

And yes, I realize this is not a great thing. It’s a huge flaw of mine, and it is something I feel like the Lord is bringing into the light this year. He wants me to endure and to cultivate. He wants me to be faithful.

So my word of the year is nurture.

I love the definition of nurture –

“the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.”

Nurturing doesn’t happen overnight. It is a time consuming process. Sooooo…I ain’t so good at nurturing. (Ha) But the Lord has shown me that marriage and motherhood are the perfect tools He is using to cultivate those things in me.

I thought at the start of this year that my calendar and planner would be full of volunteering at the homeless shelter, crisis pregnancy center, or church. I thought we would most likely lead a bible study of some kind in our home or lead a small group. And these things may happen at some point in the year!

But the Lord has been calming my heart and showing me that when I am busy “doing things for Him,” a lot of times I feel resentment towards the things that get in the way of that…like my children. As my focus goes outward, my frustration grows towards them.

So I feel like this year, for this season, the Lord wants me to nurture my children. He wants me to be present. To listen to the little stories. To read the books. To answer the questions. To sing songs. To change diapers. To teach them about the Lord. To cultivate in their hearts obedience and kindness. To be all in.

He wants me to nurture my marriage. To put down my phone and listen to my husband when he talks to me. To go on dates with Chris. To pray for Chris. To love him to the best of my ability.

So this is what my heart for this year is. To not just plant the seeds, but to water, weed, water again, cultivate and prune the things God is growing in my life. I want to desire and look to the harvest. Knowing that my toil is not in vain in the Lord.

I’d love to hear what the Lord wants for your 2017! Is it a year of planting or growing for you? Comment below or email me some of your goals for this year.

(Note: Please know that I am not saying we should not serve or be involved in church or ministries. Nothing could be further from the truth. And as believers we are called to do these things. However, when I put more priority and importance on those things over my own family, that is where the problem is. And that is what the Lord has shown me I have a tendency to do. Just wanted to clarify. Ha)

Home Sweet Temporary Home

 
It’s been almost a week since we moved to Columbus! At the rate this week has crept by it feels more like a month. (ha) It has been quite the adjustment for our little family, but I think we are starting to find our rhythm as much as we can during this transitional time.

Chris has been really enjoying his new job and loves the people he will be working with. It’s just overwhelming for him at times trying to soak in all of the new information. Like drinking from a fire hose… (ha) I have no doubt he will catch on quickly, lil smarty pants.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty of having three small children in a hotel room. Before we got here I was like “Oh it’ll be a fun adventure! Think of the memories we will make!”

WRONG. More like, let’s hang on and try to survive the next few weeks and hope we all forget them soon. (ha)

There is just NO SPACE.

We are all over each other, all day long. I’m used to trying to get things done with at least one child attached to my leg, but now the space is so small I drag the other two along with me, whether they want to come or not. (you think I’m kidding…)

And with most of them being on different sleep schedules and nap times, its a miracle that any of them get sleep.

I’m thankful there is a small kitchen in here though, it would be SO hard to have to get take-out or haul all of us to a restaurant every night.

I have remind myself of that when our rooms smell continually of hamburger patties and essential oils. (ha)

One of the BEST perks of being here though is having my family 3 minutes down the road. I think we’ve all seen each other every day since we moved here. We had dinner with my cousin and mom last night and the day before my sister came and hung out with us after work.

It’s such a blessing to just do life together. I’ve missed that.

It’s funny how when I was growing up, I so looked forward to being independent and having “my own life.” You know, doing adult things. And now that I’m an adult, all I want is my family back in my life. (ha)

Only 11 days until our apartment is ready…which will have THREE BEDROOMS. (*cue angelic voices singing*) And then we’ll have two months in that until (Lord willing) we find and move into a house.

I am soooo ready to be settled in our new place…I miss decorating and “nesting.” (no I’m not pregnant again, calm down.) But I am trying my hardest to enjoy this time and let the Lord teach me the lessons He wants me to learn.

First Friday Parade at Clemson

A few weeks ago Chris took the kids and me to the First Friday Parade at Clemson. It was our first time to go, and Chris was excited for us to experience something he enjoyed back in his college days (a looooong time ago. Just kidding honey…).

I’ll be honest…I was a little nervous to pack up our three little ones and try to keep them all contained in a crowd (hello nightmares about losing my child in a sea of people) but with two locked up, I mean strapped, in a stroller it really wasn’t that bad!

This was the pose Eli kept the whole time…belly poked out and unimpressed look on his face. Apparently he is above boring old parades. (ha) I was able to get him almost up to the front of the line of people, so he had a good view of everything! (and I had another picture of just him, but he was closing his eyes…oopsie!)

Rhett LOVED the parade. I was surprised that the loud noises didn’t freak him out (thanks Aunt Carley for that trait, by the way) but he clapped and waved and pointed to it all. His favorite was the firetruck and the large soccer balls they rolled down the street.

Elliot looked like a lil orphan Annie in her headband and every time I looked down at her I laughed. She’s just so cute and has such a serious little face! She was so good the whole time.

I am an Alabama fan, but I’m also not stupid (contrary to popular belief that those two things run hand in hand). I know that my children will most likely grow up to be Tiger fans because of their daddy. I know the power of a father. So I am trying to support and let it be. It could be muuuuch worse, and at least it is the least offensive of the Tigers out there (BITE ME AUBURN).

I sure do love my little munchkins. I have to admit they all look pretty cute in that orange and purple. Elliot has on a Clemson onesie, her bib is just covering it up (Planned? You’ll never know…)

Be still my heart. So thankful my kids have such an incredible man to look up to and imitate. And if Rhett someday decides to attend Clemson, this picture will be going in his dorm room. He has no choice. (ha)

When Your Spouse Starts To Feel Like A Co-Worker

When Chris and I were dating, we talked a lot about having kids in the future and what that would look like.
We talked about how many we could picture us having, what kind of parents we thought we would be, and even silly things like what names we liked. It was fun to daydream about little ones who would be a mixture of us both and raising them up to love the Lord.

It wasn’t all silly talk. We would discuss how important we knew our marriage would have to be in the midst of little ones, and that we didn’t want to ever put our kids before our marriage. We were in covenant with each other, not our children. We didn’t want to grow old and our kids be out living lives of their own, and us be complete strangers to each other. We both had witnessed broken marriages in our own families and prayed we would not make those same mistakes.

So when three short years later, Chris and I (who were now married) were sitting on our bed and the words, “I just don’t really like being around you anymore.” came out of his mouth, all of those conversations, all of those good intentions, all of the promises we had made came flooding back into my mind.

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Now granted, I know he could have said something much worse. But we were best friends and were literally inseparable since we had gotten married. We enjoyed being together more than with anyone else. So his words not only hurt, they also scared me.

Chris and I have been married for three years and in those three years we have had three children (and one angel baby in heaven). My pregnancy with Eli was more traumatic than words can express, and we have lived through one hardship after another (from outside sources) since the day we were married.

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The honeymoon phase lasted for about 9 months and our days went from cuddling on the couch watching movies, to working ourselves to the bone from sun up to sun down caring for our little people.

He walks through the door from a long day at work and I hand him a baby, while I have another one on my hip, attempting to cook dinner while the toddler is screaming at my feet.

We are wiping noses and bottoms, brushing teeth and kissing little faces until about 8:30 at night. We both fall into bed absolutely exhausted and high five because we survived another day. We then both roll over and try to get as much sleep until it all starts over again in the morning.

In all honesty, most days I watch for my husband’s car to pull into the driveway, not because I greet him at the door with a smooch and tell him to take a load off until supper’s ready. It’s because I can’t wait to have some HELP in the midst of this chaos. He brings a touch of sanity and it gives me the strength to finish the day out strong.

This is not at all how I imagined my marriage with kids. I never thought at the end of the day I would not want to be touched because I have literally had 3 tiny people hanging all over me all day long. I’ve tripped over, walked around, and stepped over people my whole day, and all I want to do is be still and not have anyone need anything from me.

I never imagined that on our long awaited date nights, that many times we would be too tired to talk. And while we shoveled food into our mouths we would both be in a daze and trying to stay awake. What happened to the fun couple who laughed and were adventurous? We used to be game for anything, and now just walking around Wal-Mart feels like a marathon.

The man who drove 4 hours to my house every weekend just to see me when we were dating now no longer finds me fun or pleasant to be around.

The Carolina Farmhouse
The Carolina Farmhouse

What happened?

I think we forgot about each other. In the midst of so many needy children, we forgot that we have needs too.

He needs to hear that I am thankful for him. Not because he’s great at changing diapers and doing the dishes. But because he is a unique and special person to me. Because of who he is. I fell in love with him for a reason. And it’s because he has a beautiful heart, a handsome face, and a laugh that melts me.

I need to hear I am beautiful — nursing tank top, messy bun and all. I need to feel taken care of, when all I do is care for the needs of others during my day. I need to know that he is still glad that he chose me to be his.

We both need to be seen.

I am so glad Chris told me how he was feeling that day. It didn’t feel good, and yes it made me cry, but it was a wake up call to me.

I am not just a mother. I am Chris Mitchell’s wife. And I LOVE being his wife.

We have both been way more intentional about each other. We are putting effort into our marriage, because during this season, if we don’t work for it…it ain’t happening.

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Saying we are putting work into our marriage may not sound romantic, and it isn’t. But intentionally loving each other and looking for ways to serve each other has brought back the late night laughs when we are loony out of our minds. Not feeling like we have lost each other in the midst of family life has brought back the kisses and hugs when we are doing dishes or folding laundry. We hold hands in the car and sing to our favorite song on the radio and talk about our days and our dreams.

Having kids has made our marriage a lot different, yes. Most days we do feel like we are a team trying to get things done and hold the fort down. But we are also best friends, lovers, dreamers, and trouble makers. And fighting to remember and appreciate those things is worth the effort.

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I want to encourage you, if your marriage feels more like you are co-workers than lovers, maybe you’ve both just gotten lost in the hustle of life. Don’t forget about each other. Remember why you got married. Fight for each other. You will never EVER regret pouring into your spouse.

When Your Spouse Starts to Feel Like a Co-Worker
When Your Spouse Starts to Feel Like a Co-Worker